The Omicron wave is behind us as the number of new Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths continues to decline for several weeks now. According to the New York Times Covid-19 tracker, the country added a total of 6,753 on Sunday, while the 14-day average number of cases is down for 57% reaching 44,386 daily cases.
Last week, CDC released new mask guidelines meaning that in most of areas across the country, masks are no longer mandatory. The decision came as a result of the declining trend and of course, the decent vaccination rate United States has. According to CDC, more than 254 million people have received one dose of the vaccines, while fully vaccinated against Covid-19 are 216 million which represents 65.1% of the population.
However, the vaccination rate among young people and teenagers is lower compared to other age groups for all the wrong reasons. The 17-year-old Californian girl Kennedy S. was one of those refusing to get vaccinated against Covid-19 because she relied on misinformation spread online. She had contracted Covid-19 in January and was hospitalized for several weeks until she passed away mid-February because she felt young and strong, thinking she will get over the virus easily if she gets infected.
According to her father L. Stonum, he, his wife and Kennedy’s grandmother pleaded her to get the Covid-19 shot since the vaccines for her age group were authorized for emergency use. However, Kennedy felt ‘indestructible’ and constantly refused to get vaccinated just like majority of her friends who were unvaccinated.
“I want to tell them to trust the science. I want to tell them that YouTube and TikTok aren’t research. I want to tell them that even if it’s a one in a million chance, those statistics don’t matter when it’s your child. What happened to Kennedy was exceedingly unlikely and very, very rare and none of that matters to me now,” Kennedy’s father said after his daughter passed away in hospital.
The OC Register reported that Kennedy was in ‘perfect health’ and she recently got her driving license. In January she felt sick and went to a local hospital seeking treatment. That’s where she tested positive on Covid-19 and doctors decided to keep her in hospital for further treatment because her condition was worsening.
Kennedy’s grandmother said she then developed what doctors believe was hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, also known as HLH, a rare immune system disease that can come on secondary to a viral infection like COVID-19. The disease attacked her immune system, and she also suffered several infections in the upcoming period.
Kennedy was hospitalized for weeks until her father was called in the early morning hours on Feb.11 asked to immediately go to the hospital.
“They did a CT scan early in the morning on the 11th and identified a major brain bleed, and told us she wouldn’t survive that, and we had to take her off life support on the 11th shortly after 8 a.m. She passed basically immediately after she was taken off,” Stonum said.
Kennedy’s father and grandmother decided to speak publicly to raise awareness about the virus and the Covid-19 vaccines. They urge everyone, especially young folks, to get vaccinated in order to be safe against the deadly virus. “I just want to say – hey, kids, don’t do this to your grandparents,” Kennedy’s grandmother said.